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Swiss-UK deal to grant consultants privileged mutual access

British service providers will retain access to the Swiss market, and vice versa. Keystone / Patrick Seeger

Switzerland and Britain have agreed on the free movement of service providers, such as management consultants and IT specialists, after the transition period between Britain and the EU ends on December 31.

This content was published on December 4, 2020 - 14:53
swissinfo.ch/mga

The ‘Services Mobility Agreement’ will allow such specialists to travel to each other’s countries for limited periods of time. The treaty is expected to be signed by ministers from both countries on December 14.

Under the terms of the deal, British service providers will have access to the Swiss workplace for up to 90 days at a time, the government said on FridayExternal link.

Britain officially left the European Union on January 31, 2020, beginning an 11-month transition period during which the two sides were to negotiate their future relationship.

This year, some 3,800 British service providers registered with the Swiss authorities. “The agreement thus allows the Swiss economy to continue to use short-term services from companies in the UK in a timely manner,” read a press release.

Britain has also loosened up its measures for Swiss service providers, allowing them to stay for a maximum period of 12 months in any two-year period. Britain has also pledged to review which qualifications are required to take Switzerland’s vocational educational schemes into account.

Swiss service providers will get preferential treatment, so they would not have to prove English language proficiency and would be exempt from an economic needs test for these sectors.

The agreement is part of Switzerland’s ‘Mind the Gap’ strategy of maintaining economic links with Britain after it left the EU. Both countries have already agreed to allow current cross-border employees to keep their legal working status in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

However, quotas will be applied to new British workers once the UK is no longer part of the EU free movement of persons area.

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